Sunday, October 26, 2014

Dear Honda

Yesterday, I got up at 5:30AM.  I worked a 12 hour day setting up and tearing down meeting rooms and a wedding reception.  Tired, sore, and very hungry, the only thing I wanted to do was to get home, have dinner, and fall asleep in my recliner. I live exactly 14.9 miles from work.  On a good day, I get home in 20 minutes.  Of course, this wouldn't be a good day.

Two miles from work, I get behind a hulking beast of middle aged mediocrity, the Honda Odyssey.  Since Ford stopped making the Aerostar, Honda has cornered the market on cattle cars for families.  I have a theory that if you are stuck behind a slow movie vehicle, chances are that car will either be an Odyssey being driven by a soccer mom or dad, or a Prius being driven by the kind of prick that buts a Prius.  Pay attention some time.  You'll be surprised how often I'm right.

This one must have been hauling the cast of the now deceased Honey Boo Boo show, because it was moving ten miles an hour under the speed limit.  Myself and seven other cars had to follow this jackhole for three miles before there was a passing lane, at which point I passed with extreme prejudice.  That means I honked at him while passing and probably flipped him the bird.  Probably.

I only made it another mile or so before I caught up to another car, this one wavering between five to ten miles an hour under the limit.  This car, yet again, was an Odyssey being driven by a middle aged woman with a bitching top ponytail going.  On top of being a lousy driver, she was also talking on her cell phone, I'm sure about how little regard she has for other's time or well being.  I couldn't pass her for another mile or so, and at this point, my drive had been held up a good seven or eight minutes over a usual drive.  Clearly irritated, I gave her a thumbs up as I passed.  She ignored me as she gabbed over her Galaxy S4bitch. 

Finally, I was in the home stretch.  I had one turn to make at a stoplight, and then three miles to home.  I had to stop at the light, and a car creeped through the intersection before I got the green.  A stream of "No no no no no no butt no" poured from my mouth.  My luck, a third asshat mobile Odyssey.  This one was practically speeding at three miles under the limit.  That breakneck speed brought my to a mile from my house until he pulled to a turn lane.  Surprisingly, this was a twenty some year old man with a neckbeard.  Clearly, the backseat of this Odyssey was now a mattress strained with the tears of hookers that regret the choices they've made.  He slowly bopped his head to some Ani DiFranco song that only he could hear, turning into whatever den of sadness and stained Homes and Better Gardens magazines that he had fashioned out of his townhouse. 

I made it home in over half an hour.  That's one and a half times longer than need be.

Please Honda, do something about this.  Only you can stop this mayhem.  Make these cars unable to operate under 55 mph, or at least let them expel some kind of gas from the vents that lets the driver have some sort of compassion towards those around them.  We're dying out here, a slow, slow, painfully crawling death. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Dear Old Lady That Tried to Kill Me

Merge lanes are for merging.  They are used so that you don't have to stop at a stop light in order to gain access to a major roadway.  At the worst, you may have to slow down slightly in order to fit into the new traffic.  At best, like it was around 8PM the other night when you tried to murder me, you can zoom right in, because there is absolutely no traffic around. 

So, foolish me, as I maintained a fairly steady pace, some twenty to thirty yards behind you, I turned to verify that no, there were no cars on route 50, the road we were both attempting to merge onto.  I was driving out to see my lady friend.  The pickup truck between us was heading for a late dinner.  You were trolling the highways to up your death count.  In the two seconds I had looked to the left to check traffic, you had slammed on your brakes, ostensibly because you mistook your cataracts for a truck blocking the road.  The pickup behind you was able to veer to the left slightly, just missing your bumper.  I turned back in time to hit my brakes, lessening my speed enough so that I merely obliterated my front bumper, instead of just atomizing it. 

Dazed, I realized the truck driver was standing at my window, asking if I was ok, and telling me if I could to drive my car our of the roadway.  His truck was up ahead, trailer hitch bent towards the ground.  You had taken the opportunity in all of the chaos and confusion to turn yourself and your car into a giant bat and fly away cackling into the night, lest the police question you when they show up.

I suppose I should thank you.  In the end, you gave me something.  No, not the $12,000 in damages to the car I bought five months ago and had paid off two weeks ago.  No, you didn't give me the rental car I'll be driving for the next month, which is a "I'm better than you" freaking PRIUS.  No, it's not the broken watch, broken cell phone, and missing Rocketeer action figure.  What you gave me was bruising up the left side of my body and shoulder, bruising across the waist and clavicle, a cut up my head, and a dislocated thumb.  Why should I thank you for that?  Because it should have been so much worse. 

What you gave me is the realization that I am unbreakable.  Even after being in that bad of a car crash, I still have never broken a bone.  I am invincible.  I am the night.  Unfortunately for me, I don't have a Mr. Glass for an arch nemesis.  I have an elderly lady who should be in jail for fleeing the scene of an accident that she caused, but that doesn't matter. 


Because I cannot be broken.  I am forever.  There can be only one, and it will not be you. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Dear New Ska Bands

It's been nigh on seventeen years since ska hit it big on the mainstream.  I was, and am, still a big fan.  However, the bands I listened to have either broken up or become so diluted with band members leaving and what can only be explained as sharp declined in the quality and quantity of groupies that their stuff doesn't grab me anymore.  The last ska show I saw was in 2005, right before the Bosstones went on hiatus.  That event is telling of how the current scene seems to be nothing but a caricature of the one I grew up on.  The Bosstones were the classiest of them all.  All in suits or tuxes, always looking good, song with hooks, and songs that just got you moving. 

I had gone to the Warped Tour every year from high school into college, until I looked old enough that everyone simply assumed I was a narc, and no one at the shows would come near me.  It got about as old as I felt, so I stopped going.  Somewhere in the intervening decade, the ska scene has gone back underground.  I hadn't heard a new band in years, until I wistfully decided to check out the lineup of this year's Warped Tour.  Out of twenty or thirty acts, only two were billed as ska bands.  Less Than Jake, who last put out a good album when I had a full head of hair, and a new band, called Beebs and Her Moneymakers.  I took to Youtube, hoping to find a new good band.  What I got was bland dreck that was dangerously verging upon mocking the old scene.

A big thing with ska has always been checkered things.  I had a checkered pickguard on my old guitar, and a checkered border along my bass.  It symbolized race unity.  As I watched a video of this band, I noticed the EVERY. SINGLE. BANDMEMBER. was decked out in some sort of checkered suit or clothing.  If they moved around enough, someone was liable to get a seizure.  It wasn't just for one video.  This was apparently "their thing".

I began clicking through the suggested links to the righthand side of their video, and found more and more new ska bands that had an overwhelmingly innocuous and bland sound, and every one of them were dressed like checkered monkeys.  None had the energy of Reel Big Fish, or the speed of Less Than Jake, or the class of the Bosstones.  There wasn't anyone even getting by on raw talent like Save Ferris, or unabashed fun like the Aquabats.  They were doing things by some trite formula, and it sucked the fun from every song.

How to have a successful ska band in 2014:

1.  Must have the word Ska somewhere in the name, so that everyone knows we are a ska band.
2.  Everything must be checkered, in case people didn't know we were a ska band from our name Doh-re-me-Ska-so-lah-ti-doh.
3.  Unenthusiastic dancing is a must.
4.  Try to get someone from one of the old ska bands to sing halfheartedly on a track.  We will use their fame to our advantage.
5.  Whatever you do, remember, don't have fun, but make it look like you are.  This will usually end up with you wearing a stripper's dead eyed smile.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Dear Tee Fury

When I saw your special "Mystery Grab Bag T-Shirt Sale", I liked my odds.  There were no less than three Supernatural shirts, a couple of Cap tees, and an Arrow tee.  In fact, looking through the assortment of possible shirts I might be sent, I saw only a few I would refuse to wear.  So, of course, when the shirt finally arrived, I got one of those.  It was from a program I have never seen, it was a brown shirt, which I don't wear, and the graphic was not even ironically bad.  So, I decided that this shall not be.  I was informed that I could have store credit should I mail the shirt back.  From postage receiving and returning, I would have already doubled the cost of the shirt, but now it was a matter of principle, so I geared up and drove down to the post office.

It seems I've grown rusty in my post office savvy in the year or so since I stopped selling books over Amazon.  I was stupid enough to enter the dying den of government antiquity too close to the traditional mid day feeding hour, when the blue hair elderly clash with the blue collared working drones trying to mail off bills or candy or whatever the hell they have in those boxes.  I was briefly optimistic as I was able to get a spot directly out front, which seemed to be a good omen for low occupancy.  As I entered the dimly lit, wood trimmed dungeon of a building, I was proven wrong.  at least six people stood before me in line, and a procession of more ambled up the sidewalk.  I quickly jumped into place ahead of the oncoming rabble, right behind a tiny Asian girl bopping along to her Ipod.  That was the most I would move for the next ten minutes.

Despite there being six spaces at the counter for agents, only two were on duty.  The one to the very far left was a woman so elderly and tiny I could only make out the top of her bob haircut.  The other woman was more imposing, with a combination beehive/weave that was strategically dyed red in places so that she resembled some sort of bored government cheetah with press on nails.  This was made more amusing by the fact that she instead moved with all of the urgency and grace of a dying, drugged sloth that also hated being a mailperson.  I sat there, sandwiched between an old man whose socks were pulled up so far that they actually complemented his shorts to make them full pants, and the tiny Asian girl blaring Cyprus Hill's "We Ain't Going Out Like That" over her headphones.  She was mistaken.  We had no choice in our fate.  We were at the mercy of the post office.

Finally, I made it to the front of the line.  The sloth/cheetah, whose handlers apparently had named her Ronaea according to her name tag, took my package, then told me to answer the questions on the LED screen.  As I did, she tapped her hideous claws upon the desk, then asked how I wanted.  I swiped my card, and nothing happened.  She glared at me, then slowly drawled out, "You wait for me.  Now you go."  Swipe, nothing.  "Swipe again."  I do so, and again nothing.  "I'ma back out, then you swipe again." This happened four more time, intoned with all the fervor of a WASP couple married for 30 years having obligatory birthday sex.  Finally, she hit the right button, and I was able to pay. 

I am still waiting, Tee Fury, to get confirmation of that store credit.  Halloween is coming soon, and I could use a bitchin' Winchester Brothers shirt.  You owe me.